Europe’s Gen Z and the future of mobility

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Like many generations before it, Gen Z doesn’t always follow the rules. For young drivers who still require a private vehicle, the types of cars they want to own, as well as how they want to own or access them, are fundamentally different from the preferences of older generations.

As part of our regular McKinsey Mobility Consumer Pulse Survey, we asked more than 4,000 customers across Europe (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom) to tell us what they expect from the future of auto finance. We found that using multiple transportation modes is becoming more popular—from the rise of ride hailing and car sharing to scooter rentals. An important part of this investigation also involved understanding the modes of transportation preferred by Gen Z.

Insight #1: Mobility is increasingly multimodal, but early reliance on private vehicles persists

Younger consumers are less likely to use private cars now and plan to increase their use of public transit and micromobility.
Leasing is expected to see more growth than other vehicle ownership options in all age groups.

Insight #2: We see clear distinctions between Gen Z and other groups, particularly when it comes to purchase considerations

Gen Z consumers are less likely to be familiar with leasing than consumers in other age groups, and many are concerned about hidden costs.

Insight #3: Gen Z still favors leases from dealers and manufacturers

Gen Z consumers who lease vehicles are most likely to rely on OEM captive banks.

Gen Z mobility shoppers exhibit different preferences compared with older buyers, and automotive financing players need to understand those differences to accommodate this new group of customers. Younger consumers use multiple mobility options but are still focused on private cars. They also have distinctive purchasing considerations and are open to integrated offers across channels, rather than just buying from OEMs. These characteristics suggest that Gen Z is edging out from the norm, rather than instigating a revolution. Automotive financing players need to prepare to meet these customers on their own terms to successfully win their business.

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